Cole Pennewell ran for 240 yards on 24 totes to lead the undefeated Monroe City football team to a 36-14 win over Brookfield.
Monroe City coach David Kirby wants his team to be known as a physical squad that wins the war up front on both sides of the ball.
The guys in the trenches, most notably on the offensive side, flexed their muscles Friday night in a 36-14 win against Brookfield.
The Panthers racked up 407 yards on the ground, led by Cole Pennewell’s game-high 240 yards on 24 totes.
“We ran that 63 option quite a bit tonight and it was open all the time,” Pennewell said. “It was open because of the offensive line. They stayed low, stayed on their blocks and we probably averaged 10 yards a pop on the play.”
Making the rushing yards even more eye-popping was the fact Brookfield stacked the box with 10 defenders most of the game, with a six-man front.
“Monroe City has had some really good offensive lines in the past and that is what we want this team to be known for,” the Panthers coach said.
“I challenged the kids this week and they stepped up.”
After the teams traded punts early on, Pennewell opened the scoring with a 46-yard run with 2 minutes, 16 seconds left in the opening stanza.
But Brookfield answered on its next possession.
Khalil Walker broke a tackle in the backfield and spun away from a couple Panther defenders on his way to an impressive 20-yard scoring run.
The play gave the Bulldogs a 7-6 lead with 9:24 left in the half.
The score was the first time the Panthers defense had allowed points in the previous 131 minutes, 13 seconds.
“They called some great plays but we also made some mistakes early on,” Kirby said. “Once we eliminated the mistakes and sustained drives the tide turned.”
Pennewell capped an 8-play, 58-yard drive with a touchdown run from seven yards to give the Panthers a 14-7 lead with 5:07 to play before the half.
Gage Bottoms set up the play with an 11-yard first-down run.
Brookfield threatened to answer back, but the Panthers defense stopped the visitors inside the redzone at the 16-yard line just seconds before the break.
Blake Hays batted down a pass in the back of the end zone on the third-down play from the 16.
“Our defense has that bend but don’t break mentality,” Pennewell noted. “We don’t ever give up and we just keep punching.”
Monroe City received the ball first in the second half and extended its lead to 20-7. Pennewell covered the final 46 yards of the 7-play, 61-yard drive with a score from nine yards out.
“He is a pretty good back,” Brookfield coach Scott Stevens said of Pennewell. “He is a hard-nosed player who runs the ball low and it usually takes at least two guys to bring him down.”
Monroe City extended its lead to 28-7 on its next drive after forcing a punt.
Zach Osborn took a double handoff and scored from 19 yards out with 3:39 left in the third frame.
After Brookfield (2-4) scored on its next possession, Bottoms put the game away with a score from 23 yards out on the first play in the fourth quarter.
Bottoms finished the game with 71 yards rushing on just five carries.
“The have some great backs, but the bottom line is their offensive line beat us up tonight,” Stevens said of the Panthers front. “That is what the game came down to tonight.”
The win moves the Class 1 No. 2 Panthers to 6-0 on the season.
“It feels good,” Pennewell said. “We are right where we want to be. Now we just have to go out and focus on next week.”
Monroe City plays host to Paris next Friday on homecoming.